*Mark Group Buys Nicole Summers List From J. Jill

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The J. Jill Group, Quincy, MA, has sold the mailing list for its Nicole Summers catalog to the Mark Group Inc., Boca Raton, FL. The announcement was made yesterday and comes nearly five months after the sale.


J. Jill discontinued its Nicole Summers catalog in September 1999 due to declining stock prices and weak sales. Calls made to Olga Conley, chief financial officer at the J. Jill Group, were not returned.


Jennifer McFarland, director of public relations at the Mark Group, said the company would use the mailing list for three catalogs: Boston Proper; Mark, Fore & Strike; and Charles Keath. Mark, Fore & Strike was among Nicole Summers' competitors.


The Mark Group -- a cataloger and direct marketer of women's apparel, home décor and gifts -- will not revive the Nicole Summers catalog because the company did not buy the title, McFarland said.


In August 1999, the J. Jill Group, formerly known as DM Management Co., announced its expansion into retail, including the opening of stores in Natick, MA, and Providence, RI. Less than a month later, the company launched its e-commerce site, www.jjill.com.


The Nicole Summers catalog targeted affluent women 45 and older who have active but formal lifestyles, according to a company overview. In 1999, in an attempt to revamp itself, Nicole Summers introduced Nicole From Nicole Summers, a catalog that offered more urban clothing, before being dissolved.
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